Wednesday 20 November 2019

Children with Down Syndrome are being discriminated against by the education system, campaigners claim

Down Syndrome Ireland charity campaign ‘Please don’t Leave us Behind’ launched at Leinster House!
Pictured: L-R: Yann O'Carroll, Lucy Corcoran, Niamh Smyth TD, Simon Smyth and Kate Hoskins
Photographer: 1IMAGE/Donall Farmer
Down Syndrome Ireland charity campaign ‘Please don’t Leave us Behind’ launched at Leinster House! Pictured: L-R: Yann O'Carroll, Lucy Corcoran, Niamh Smyth TD, Simon Smyth and Kate Hoskins Photographer: 1IMAGE/Donall Farmer
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Children with Down Syndrome are being discriminated against in the education system, it was claimed today.

Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) said children were being denied their right to an effective education due to a lack of resources and training for teachers, it was claimed today.

Representatives of the charity briefed TDs and senators at the Dáil against the backdrop of dissatisfaction within the two second-level teacher unions, the ASTI and TUI, about the level of provision for ongoing developments in the area of meeting special educational needs.

DSI president Mary Doherty said children with Down Syndrome must be set up to succeed and not to fail.

“This simply will not happen without adequate resourcing, teacher training and critical individualised education plans for children with additional needs,” she said.

DSI, which represents 3,500 people with Down Syndrome and their families, is also calling for the July Provision programme, which provides funding to extend the school year for children with certain special needs, to be extended to all children with Down Syndrome.

Extending the programme to all children with Down Syndrome would cost just €1m a year, the charity estimates.

Ms Doherty said children with Down Syndrome needed the additional support during the summer months so they could catch up with their peers and stay in mainstream education.

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